You don’t have to tell anyone who works in Orange County treatment centers that there is a correlation between highly intelligent people and drug addiction. They see it on a daily basis. The issue is that most people don’t understand why or how this is possible. They make the assumption that highly intelligent people are best equipped to make good decisions, but they don’t take into account any of the issues associated with higher intelligence. Some of those issues lead to an obvious link between intelligence and drug use.

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The Intelligent Mind

It has only been in recent years that educators have noticed that intelligent people often get bad grades or get into trouble. One of the biggest reasons that this happens is because they are bored, not challenged intellectually, and they don’t always fit in socially. Children don’t understand the value of education, so they often focus on the social factors—factors that can lead them to make poor decisions in order to fit in—and decisions like choosing to use drugs.

Evidence of Correlation

Several studies have shown that individuals with higher IQ scores are more likely to use substances like cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines. For instance, a 2011 study on nearly 8,000 people measured their IQ scores at young ages and followed up later in life, revealing that those with higher IQs were more likely to engage in substance use.

Reasons for the Correlation:

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  1. Boredom and creativity are two significant factors that can influence drug use among highly intelligent individuals. When people with high intelligence are not adequately challenged intellectually, they may experience boredom. This lack of mental stimulation can lead to seeking excitement or stimulation through drug use. On the other hand, the connection between creativity and substance use is also well-established. Some individuals might turn to drugs as a means to enhance or fuel their creative processes. In these cases, substances are used in the pursuit of artistic expression or to explore different states of consciousness that are believed to enhance creativity
  2. Highly intelligent individuals often possess a strong sense of curiosity and a drive for new experiences. This intrinsic desire for exploration and novelty can sometimes lead them to experiment with drugs. Their quest for understanding different aspects of life and a natural inclination toward seeking new sensations and experiences can make the prospect of drug use appear as an avenue for discovery and exploration. This tendency is not necessarily linked to a lack of awareness about the risks involved but rather stems from a profound curiosity and a penchant for experiencing the unknown​
  3. High intelligence in individuals does not automatically translate to high emotional intelligence. People with high IQs may find themselves struggling with social interactions and emotional regulation. This challenge in navigating social environments and managing emotions can lead some to turn to substances as a coping mechanism. The use of drugs or alcohol in these instances serves as a form of self-medication, aiming to alleviate difficulties in emotional processing or to ease social interactions. This reliance on substances for social settings or emotional stability highlights a gap that may exist between cognitive intelligence and emotional skill sets.
  4. People with higher IQs often experience a constant stream of active and analytical thoughts. This continuous mental engagement can lead to a state where their minds are always racing, analyzing, and contemplating various aspects of their life and surroundings. To manage this incessant mental activity and find some peace, some of these individuals may turn to substances. The use of drugs or alcohol in such scenarios is an attempt to quiet these racing thoughts, providing a temporary escape from the relentless mental stimulation. By doing so, they seek a sense of mental relaxation that might otherwise be elusive due to their naturally active and inquisitive minds​​​.

While most people go to bed at night and maybe review the day in their minds, highly intelligent people struggle to keep thoughts at bay. They don’t just review things, but analyze them to the last detail. Their minds are never quiet. In many cases, the only way they have found to quiet their minds and even narrow thoughts to single digits is by taking some sort of drug.

Expanding the Mind

There are even those who seek to take their minds to the next level. They use drugs because they want to see where their minds can go in a different state. Intelligent minds are ever questioning, ever curious. They absorb information like a drug and will sometimes go to extremes to see which areas of their minds they can access.

Don’t forget that there is also a direct correlation between socioeconomic status and drug use, indicating that intelligent minds that don’t have access to some of the things people in a higher socioeconomic model might have may seek out their own resources. They often feel misunderstood and intolerant of small talk.

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Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment at Yellowstone Recovery

Orange County treatment centers are used to this phenomenon, so they try to help intelligent people seek out healthier resources, both socially and intellectually. To learn more about treatment programs for intelligent people who want to stop using drugs, contact Yellowstone Recovery today.

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